Shepard Fairey’s first Obama portrait since his iconic HOPE poster, designed for the cover of the latest issue of Rolling Stone, has been released.
When asked by the WSJ how this image differs from the the iconic HOPE image, he said the following:
Rather than looking like a slick propaganda poster like the “Hope” image did, I wanted it to have more of a painterly look. There’s also a collage in the background, with a lot of different experiences and voices and textures organically mixing together. Also in regards to the painterly aspect, I purposely left the bottom [edge] unfinished, which is both a reference to Gilbert Stuart’s unfinished George Washington portrait, and also meant to speak to the fact that Obama’s presidency has just begun.
On a recent trip to Boston to celebrate RJH's birthday, I read an article about Shepard Fairey who created the iconic HOPE poster that was seen so prevalently during Obama's presidential campaign. The story was about how Associated Press Photographer Mannie Garcia was seeking legal action against Fairey because the HOPE poster was based on his copyrighted photograph taken in April 2006 while on assignment. Garcia is currently asking for credit and compensation for the use of his photograph. As I'm reading all about this story, I certainly didn't know that I'd be seeing a huge collection of Fairey's work just days later. Fairey's exhibit, Supply and Demand, was being shown just blocks from the hotel we stayed along Boston's waterfront. We learned of the show through a friend in Boston and made our way to The Institute of Contemporary Art on our final day in Boston. The show was incredible. I haven't loved an exhibit this much in a very long time.
Fairey's work is so unique and so striking. His minimal color palette paints such a serious tone. His work celebrates, dissects and explores Pop Culture, Politics, Money, Death, Music, War, Greed - it just doesn't stop. His art is reminiscent of old propaganda-style posters. The way that each of his pieces look like layers and layers of paper and newsprint and paint give it a home-made aesthetic but it's so much more polished than that. His work speaks such strong statements. He digs deep in to the belly of the culture and slaps it up on a wall. Fairey's art began on the streets in the cities where he lived. As a skateboarding youth, he began tagging structures and creating art on building walls. He first became known for his OBEY sticker campaign which featured a stencil of wrestler André the Giant. You likely have seen it before but just had no clue who or what it was all about. His work has obviously been put on the forefront due to the HOPE campaign. Where he sits now is right where he belongs. Fairey is a true trail blazer in modern art. I'm such a huge fan of his work now. A few of my favorite from the exhibit are below. xx.
The following is a video shot in 2008 that features an interview with the artist.